Family files wrongful death complaint against Pleasanton Police Department

PLEASANTON, Calif. (KGO) -- A Bay Area family filed a wrongful death complaint Thursday against the City of Pleasanton and Pleasanton Police Department in connection to their son's death while being taken into police custody last year.

In childhood family pictures Jacob Bauer looks like most kids; a son, big brother and graduate with a bright future.

"I adored him," said his mother Rose.

But in his early 30s, his parents say depression took over. At 38, approximately a month prior to his death, they say Jacob began to spiral.

Three times they contacted Pleasanton Police for help with Jacob and spoke to police on a fourth occasion as well.

On August 1st, 2018, Raley's employees contacted the Pleasanton Police Department about a disturbance inside the store. Two officers found Jacob outside nearby.

Captain Larry Cox with the Pleasanton Police Department says when officers approached Jacob, initially, he was answering their questions but when they asked him if he had any weapons, he stopped talking and that concerned officers.

"That's when they moved to go ahead and detain him because there was a fear for some weapons," said Captain Cox.

Pleasanton Police say Jacob would not put his hands behind his back. Officers struggled with Bauer for over five minutes and called for backup. They say they used a taser, a baton to pry his hands from underneath his body and a leg restraint device once he was in handcuffs.

As paramedics put Jacob in an ambulance, they say he showed signs of respiratory distress. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

"The fact that he was brutalized the way he was and suffered such a horrible death makes it even more painful," said Rose Bauer.

The Alameda County coroner's report lists the primary cause of death as acute methamphetamine toxicity. Other significant conditions listed are probable mechanical asphyxia while being placed in a restraint device by police, cardiac hypertrophy and morbid obesity.

A second autopsy performed by a doctor hired by the family's attorney found that Jacob died from asphyxia from the restraint used.

"I am confident that every officer responded appropriately," said Captain Cox.

Captain Cox says he's reviewed the video from officer's body-worn cameras as well as witness cell phone video. It's video Jacob's parents want to see but the Pleasanton Police Department has not shown it to them.

Nearly one year since his death, Jacob's parents still feel shattered.

"My heart breaks every day I wake up I have to force myself to continue without him," said Rose.

They're holding it together for their son.

"We can not have the police policing the police because this is the result," said John Bauer.

"This never should have happened," said Rose.

The Alameda County District Attorney's Office says the investigation into the matter is active.

A spokesperson for the city of Pleasanton told ABC7 News, " there is a pending claim and anticipated litigation the City Attorney is not in a position to offer any comment."
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